Tuesday, September 13, 2022
Reheat of the Lich King
Lately I have been seeing a lot of advertising for World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King. It turns out that this is getting released on the WoW Classic servers in two weeks, on September 26th. And the response is overwhelming. Servers are overcrowded with long queue times. Blizzard is offering free server transfers. 14 years after the original, the reheated lich king is the new hotness!
September 18, 2008, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning was released. In my mind, the MMORPG industry has been going downhill from there. WAR was the last time people really believed that a new MMORPG could appear and surpass World of Warcraft. We never got over the disappointment with bears, bears, bears and other unmet promises. And even WoW declined after Wrath of the Lich King, reaching its peak in October 2010.
I find it kind of sad that the most popular MMORPG on offer in September 2022 is a second coming of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King on "classic" servers. It somehow is admitting that all the MMORPG games that came after that and all the changes and expansions to WoW that came after WotLK weren't all that great. Sure, a number of games are still around, people play Guild Wars 2, Final Fantasy XIV, and The Elder Scrolls Online. But MMORPGs have become a niche that you rarely hear from anymore. There doesn't appear to be a future for the genre other than nostalgia.